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Oops, I Spilled All the Damage


I hate math. I mean, I certainly respect math. I just can't do it.

So, then, why did I decide to write a whole article and build a deck around a commander that involves a fair bit of math? Well, you see, I'm pretty dumb.

*end of article*

Wait, you need another 1,000 words? Oh, all right, well I'll keep going.

As the CoolStuffInc staff works our way through the legendary creatures of Kaldheim, I fixed my gaze upon Toralf, God of Fury. Yes, he of the hammer which can be my commander.

Alas, while the back side, Toralf's Hammer, can be my commander, I'm gonna stick to Toralf himself for now. I had to read this card a few times for it to really click with me. Even then, I thought it was a neat idea, but then I read this Oracle text:

The damage Toralf deals because of its triggered ability is noncombat damage. That damage may cause Toralf's ability to trigger again.

Ohhhhh myyyyyy.

Let's say I cast a Blasphemous Act to deal with my opponents' armies. For the sake of the argument, we'll say each of my three opponents is at 40 life and has 6 1/1 tokens each. All I have is good old Toralf.

Here comes the Blasphemous Act - 13 damage to each creature. Each of my opponents' tokens will die, leaving 12 excess damage each. 12 x 18 = 216 excess damage.

Oops, you're all dead!

That's a pretty simple scenario - though I absolutely did use my calculator to do that multiplication problem - but the aforementioned Oracle text means things still get very interesting even when our opponents have battlefields full of different creatures and planeswalkers, each with different toughness and loyalty numbers.

Let's use a different burn spell as our example here - Banefire.


It's getting late and I have lots of mana to dump into the X cost. I'm gonna cast Banefire with an X of 10, targeting my final opponent's Questing Beast. Four damage is enough to kill it, so we've still got six left over. My opponent's commander - Tatyova, Benthic Druid - is still out, too, so three of that excess goes to Tatyova. And we'll send the final three to my opponent's face.

Scenarios like this are what attract me to Toralf. The Blasphemous Act into a token-filled board is an easy, silly, slightly unsatisfying way to win a game. But using one burn spell to take out two key creatures and whittle an opponent's life total down - that's the kind of "maybe more trouble than it's worth but More Trouble Than He's Worth is my middle name so I'm super down" value that I love in Commander.

Take a card like Court of Ire as another example.

Court of Ire

If you're the monarch, having seven damage to spread around any number of different targets - rather than being forced to point all seven at a single one - can really come in handy. Being able to deal with multiple problems at once is always a good thing in a multiplayer game.

One of the other things I really dig about Toralf is that there are plenty of these super weird, super fun interactions.

Soulfire Eruption
Mizzium Mortars

A Mono-Red deck should embrace chaos at least a little, and Soulfire Eruption definitely does that with Toralf in play. Mizzium Mortars is a great way to wipe your opponents' boards - once the four damage takes out their smaller creatures, you can point the excess at their bigger ones - without insta-winning like Blasphemous Act and Star of Extinction will typically do.

But perhaps the card I've found that has the potential to get the most fun and most wacky in conjunction with Toralf, God of Fury is Hostility:


Now, you might be asking, if I had a whole mess of Toralf damage to yeet at my opponents' faces, why would I choose to just make a bunch of tokens instead? Great question!

Because it's silly and I like silly things.

Additionally, I like that it's the kind of thing I can do earlier in the game when it's not quite time to end things just yet, or if one or more opponents have gained a ton of life and can't be eliminated with the pool of excess damage from a single burn spell, even a big one like Star of Extinction. And, not for nothing, but a Mono-Red deck doesn't typically have great ways to gain life, so giving Toralf some cover puts a bit of a metallic coating on what could otherwise be a very glassy cannon.

This kind of ability can also be a great political tool. If one of my opponents help me, I can easily help them by leaving them and their stuff alone while going after something, or someone, else at the table. Anyone who knows me knows I do so love my Commander politics, and there are many intriguing political possibilities with a deck like this.

I love commanders and decks that give me options. I love when a deck isn't just do the thing, it's do one of the many things. I'm happy when I have the flexibility to be able to adapt to the flow of the game and what my opponents are doing. Toralf is super flexible in every way, from the way you build around him to the way you choose to play the deck from game to game.

Dave is a Commander player currently residing in Reno, NV. When he's not badly misplaying his decks, he works as a personal trainer. You can bother him on Twitter and check out his Twitch channel.

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